Officials cautioned drivers about dangerous road conditions in the metro-east as low temperatures and rainfall created potentially icy roadways throughout Sunday night.
A winter weather advisory was issued from noon Sunday to midnight Sunday for all of the metro-east, as well as a good chunk of southwest Illinois and east-central and southeast Missouri. The advisory warned of freezing rain, slippery roads and ice accumulations up to one tenth of an inch.
Fire Chief Tom Pour said it’s always best to stay off the roads, but if you have to venture out onto the streets, there are a few precautions you should take. He advised people should always carry cell phones, chargers and blankets in their cars.
“If you were to run off the road so you weren’t visible, you need to have whatever you need inside your car such as snacks, water, a first aid kit,” Pour said. “All the same things you need in a house, make sure you have them with you in the car and that you can call for help.”
Pour also advised to avoid roadways with open air beneath them, such as bridges and ramps, because they freeze faster.
Even as forecasters in the area said they expected above-freezing temperatures to limit chances of rainfall turning into ice, officials continued to warn people to remain cautious.
St. Clair County Emergency management shared a warning on Facebook about icy conditions on sidewalks as well as roads.
“While the precipitation is falling as rain due to the temperatures, some ground temperatures remain below freezing and can quickly cause unseen and unpredictable consequences,” the post read, showing a photo of a seemingly safe sidewalk that was actually covered in ice.
The Illinois Department of Transportation advised on Twitter that “icy conditions will make driving treacherous. Motorists are advised to make preparations if they plan to be on the road.”
IDOT listed several tips for driving, such as keeping an eye out for black ice. Black ice is hard to spot for drivers since it freezes clear, making seemingly safe roads extremely dangerous to drive on.
Southern Illinois Fire Incidents also cautioned drivers on Facebook to watch out for black ice, warning about accidents in other counties.
“Wayne county just had it’s first rollover. Deputy said the hill it was on was solid black ice. And where there’s one big patch of black ice there’s lots more,” the post read.
If you get caught on a patch of black ice, the Weather Channel advises the following:
▪ Keep your steering wheel straight. If you turn the wheel, you have a better chance of sliding and losing control of your vehicle.
▪ Do not brake. Braking causes the vehicle to slide, especially if you brake too hard.
▪ Take your foot off the accelerator to reduce speed. It is best to let the car stop on its own if you have enough room in front of you.